Hello 🙂 Today I am going to discuss how I calculate reasonable international purchases vs local ones.
If at all possible I prefer to buy my inks/pens locally, you receive it faster, don’t have to pay additional VAT and/or import tax, not to mention the shipping fees. Unfortunately, the ink/pen that you want is not always available or is ridiculously priced – and in those cases importing it tends to be my only option.
When importing I look at the following points:
Is the product available via a South African company?
No – Import is the only option.
Yes – Is the product priced the same/similarly as in other countries? IE: £5.95 vs $12.95 vs R139.00
Yes – Purchase locally.
No – Will the product work out cheaper to import myself?
Yes – Import product myself.
No – Purchase locally.
In the example below I will be using Diamine Red Dragon, this example includes delivery to either the nearest post office or straight to your door.
Want It All
(Local Website – that has been around for ages)
(Door to Door Delivery)
Diamine Red Dragon 80ml x 1 = R 1583.00
Write Gear (Local Website – recent addition)
(Door to Door Delivery)
Diamine Red Dragon 80ml x 1 = R 189.00
Pure Pens (UK)
(To the nearest Post Office)
Diamine Red Dragon 80ml x 1 = £ 9.87
£ 9.87 x R 17.56(current exchange rate) = R 174.76
+ 14% VAT = R 199.22
+ R 30 Sapo Handling Fee = R 229.22
+ R 22.92 10% Customs Tarrif (Even though technically fountain pen ink is is duty free – but just in case)
= R 252.14
So in this case I would buy the product from Write Gear, if the colour or brand I wanted was not available then Pure Pens would be my next go to option. I’m pretty sure all of you can see why I wouldn’t even consider Want It All…
I should mention, international websites tend to ship to South Africa extremely fast. Additionally the packages also arrive in South Africa in a few days. The problem is our very own Post Office and Customs. If there are no strikes and backlogs I have had parcels from Pure Pens arrive in about ten days. On the other had I recently waited seventy six days for a parcel to be processed by SAPO.
I know I mention Write Gear in almost every post – but i’m really not sponsored by them or anyone else promise… They just happen to be exactly what the fountain pen community in South Africa needs.
Hope some of you found this useful. Hmmm, wonder if there will ever be enough interest for group buys in SA.